testing blog roll

  • How far has DFID got in implementing ‘Doing Development Differently’ ideas on the ground?
    I’ve been banging on about the ‘Doing Development Differently’ movement for a few years now. Initially driven by big bilateral donors frustrated with the failure rate of old school project approaches, especially in trying to ‘build states’ and reform governments , DDD advocates ‘politically smart and locally led’ approaches, avoiding cookie cutter ‘best practice’, while staying sufficiently aware and adaptive to learn and tweak your ...
  • Pragmatism and its discontents: Brian Levy’s brilliant review essay on How Change Happens
    Brian Levy, governance guru and author of Working with the Grain, recently published this magisterial essay on his blog. Nominally a review of How Change Happens (chuffed, naturally), it goes way beyond to provide a powerful critique of the aid/development/progressive consensus in light of the events of the last year. Enjoy. At times in the last few years”, writes Duncan Green in his recent book How Change Happens,  “it has ...
  • What do we know about ‘online gig work’ in developing countries?
    What do we know about ‘online gig work’ in developing countries? Until recently, all I’d read about was the bizarre world of gold farming – gamers in East Asia (even prisoners in Chinese labour camps) playing to accumulate credits they could then sell on to lazy Western players. A new report from the Oxford Internet Institute filled me in on where the phenomenon has got ...
  • How could a ‘life cycle analysis’ help aid organizations engage better with the public?
    Following on the post (and great comments) about whether Oxfam should get serious on changing social norms, I’ve been thinking about a ‘life cycle analysis’ approach to INGOs’ engagement with the public. The starting point is that at different ages, people have different assets and constraints (eg disposable time, cash, openness to new ideas). Obviously, one shouldn’t generalize – not all 20, 40 or 80 ...
  • Improving collaboration between practitioners and academics: what to do? (with a little help from Einstein)
    Previous posts in this 3 part series explored the obstacles to INGO-academic collaboration, and the lessons of systems thinking. This final post suggests some ways forward (with some sarcastic asides from Einstein) Based on all of the above, a number of ideas emerge for consideration by academics, INGOs and funders of research. Suggestions for academics Comments on the blogposts that formed the basis for this ...
  • What does Systems Thinking tell us about how INGOs and Academics can work together better?
    Yesterday, I wrote about the obstacles to NGO-academic collaboration. In this second of three posts on the interface between practitioners and researchers, I look at the implications of systems thinking. Some of the problems that arise in the academic–INGO interface stem from overly linear approaches to what is in effect an ideas and knowledge ecosystem. In such contexts, systems thinking can help identify bottlenecks and suggest possible ...
  • What are the obstacles to collaboration between NGOs and Academics?
    I wrote a chapter on the NGO-Academia Interface for the recent IDS publication, The Social Realities of Knowledge for Development, summarized here by James Georgalakis. It’s too long for a blog, but pulls together where I’ve got to on this thorny topic, so over the next few days, I will divvy it up into some bite-sized chunks for FP2P readers. First, why collaboration between NGOs ...
  • Links I Liked
    I’m running a two week summer school on How Change Happens in Cape Town in July. Sign up here. Newspapers should have had the headline “Number of people in extreme poverty fell by 137,000 since yesterday.” Every day for the last 25 years [h/t Max Roser] New Oxfam report. From 2009-2015, the 50 biggest US companies received over $423 billion in tax breaks; Over that ...
  • Drought in Africa – How the system to fund humanitarian aid is still hardwired to fail
    Guest post from Debbie Hillier, Oxfam Humanitarian Policy Adviser Nearly 11 million people across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya are facing alarming levels of food insecurity. In Somalia, deaths as a result of drought have already been recorded, and as its next rains are forecast to be poor, famine is a real possibility. But why are we facing the threat of famine yet again in Somalia? ...
  • Tortoise v Hare: Is China challenging the US for global leadership? Great Economist piece
    Back from Australia and I’ve been catching up on my Economist backlog. The 1st April edition exemplified the things the magazine does really well (I don’t include its naff geek-humour April 1st leader supporting a tax on efficiency). There were the customary great infographics – here’s the map showing the extent to which countries export/import air pollution through their trade in goods (i.e. importing dirty ...